South Florida FPL crews head to Panhandle as about 500,000 are without power

3,000 other FPL workers already up north after Hurricane Michael

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - More help is on the way to areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael.

Several Florida Power and Light crews from South Florida were deployed Thursday morning to the Panhandle.

They're ready to assist in the massive clean-up efforts just now getting underway.

This is type of situation these power crews train for each and every year.

And with officials estimating upwards of 500,000 people currently without power, their help will be greatly needed.

The FPL trucks rolled out of their Pompano Beach service station Thursday morning. 

A total of eight trucks and 16 power restoration specialists from Miami-Dade and Broward counties are now making their way to Lake City, which is about an hour drive north of Gainesville.

Once there, they will re-group and await further instruction from emergency officials in the panhandle, deciding which areas to send them to first.

Officials said these types of trips are always hard to plan for as they really won't know the full extent of the damage until they arrive to the region. 

"This is a little more, we'll call it Helter Skelter," FPL Operations Section Chief Gregory Jones said. "You don't know exactly what you're going into. So once you get to the actual location, you can start to assess what you have and then determine what’s really needed to do the restoration safely and effectively."

These crews are prepared to stay in the Panhandle area for up to two weeks -- although that could always be extended depending on how much help is needed.

They'll be joining about 3,000 other FPL workers and contractors from around the state who have already made the trip north.

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